family

Paris…Taking It All In

One of the things I notice most when I am in Paris are the details...

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Lanterns

 

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I love the cobblestones, the lanterns, the ironwork, the designs on the buildings. Maybe its because I am actually slowing down enough to see them or because this city just has a magical amount of details and character… or a combination of both.

Either way, it always seems like my life slows down a bit when I am here. Whether or not there is the lovely craziness of family around me and I am negotiating a million things at once or I am completely alone and doing nothing but absorbing what is in front of me.

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Lights

 

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Aside from the buildings, there is of course the food. And the color. And did I mention the food? And whether or not we were eating it, we were certainly taking it in with all of our senses.

 

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Apples

 

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In the rare case that we weren't gazing around us, eating or window shopping, we were sitting and relaxing.

 

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See you tomorrow.


A Day in Montmarte

Happy Summer friends!

I hope that everyone is enjoying the less hurried pace that summer brings to many of us! We are home from our epic family vacation and are slowly…. very slowly… getting back into the swing of a schedule around here!

In the process I am really trying to organize my Europe photos somehow before sharing them with you but since there are literally hundreds and hundreds of them… well, you know how it is… it's all taking a while longer than I was hoping.

Plus there is that pesky jet lag thing that is putting me in bed by 8:00 pm most nights… its kind of a comedy show around here at the moment!

So in effort to at least get started, I am going to start working through a day at a time… or maybe even half a day LOL!  For today, our visit to Montmarte, the artist district of Paris, was filled with a plethora of time sitting and watching artists paint, as well as some really good food and not only people watching but building watching too.

For me there is nowhere else that I can think of where awnings and simple cane chairs end up feeling so charming and nostalgic and so…. well so, Paris.

Awnings

 

Painters

 

Chairs

 

Ben, my oldest, was fascinated in the process of painting and could have watched the local painters for hours.

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The rest of us were just a bit more interested in the French Onion Soup and Chicken with herbs that was coming any minute...

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But the corners and nooks and crannies of that district were just as yummy as the lunch!

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Restaurants

 

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And of course as soon as lunch was done, the sillies came out.

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… in everyone!

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More… oh so much more… this weekend!

Talk to you soon!

 


My Little Trip... Part IV

No trip to the British countryside would be complete without some country garden photos... here are a few of my favorites.

I love to think about how the plants all go and look together, why the gardener made certain choices, how one plant plays off the other. The general feel of " slightly overgrown but manicured" is what I love most about the "English Country Garden" look. There is something so magical about it.

Along with my hollyhocks this year, I am going to try to recreate this feel in a small area of my front garden. I already have the overgrown climbing roses and various types of hydrangeas in my front porch area so I think we will start there :-).

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... this jasmine reminds so much of growing up that I can literally smell being a kid again!

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 ...believe it or not, this is a maple. Full size leaves and a huge tree. It was unbelievable to look at!

 

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 ... felt like The Secret Garden here.

 

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... hollyhocks.

 

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 ... I seriously need a mailbox hidden in a hedge like that!

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A Little Trip... Part II

Flags

 

So as much as I love the doors... I love all the rest of it too. The gates. The views. The gorgeous  golden Cotswalds stone that makes all of the villages glow.... literally. The hollyhocks. Those hollyhocks are absolutely everywhere and I have promised myself to plant them in my garden next year. They just define English cottage garden to me!

Here are just a few photos of the villages that we explored... okay maybe more than a few. But a few of my favorites anyway.

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With names likes Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Norton, Moreton-on-the-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Winchcombe, Broadway, Blockley, you kind of want to visit and explore each and every one. Which we kind of did. Again. Since I have done this several times before. It never gets old. Seriously.

 

Up tomorrow: the thatched roof cottages themselves. To die for.


The Ferry Building

Last week we had some of our favorite out of town guests, a family that we have known forever. In fact we were reminiscing how we used to babysit their oldest son when he was a toddler before we had any of our own. Well, he is off to college this fall. I know this is a total cliche, but I seriously do not know where that time has gone. Poof!

Anyhow, as is our usual, whenever we have friends visiting that share our love of walking and eating.... we go into the city to the Ferry Building. And so we went...

 

We strolled along the Embarcadero....

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With a lot of wind blowing in our hair...

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And then we came to the shrine that is the Ferry Building. What else is there to say really.   #weateourwaythroughtherestoftheday 

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First up, Miette. A charming little French sweet shoppe.

Miette

 

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The General Store and Farm Fresh To You stand....

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Moreflowers

 

Generalstore

 

Anything green is good.

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The gourmet bean store, Rancho Gordo. Where the boys spent a good deal of their time playing with the "touching beans".

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The ACME bakery. Just the small alone.

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Tasting at the Olive Oil shop. I have found a new love and I am addicted. But I have found a slightly more affordable way to do it. Go to Trader Joe's and buy a small bottle of your favorite flavored oil - basil, garlic and chili all work well. Find the little tin of Trader Joe's truffle salt. Combine the two in a little dish. Dip your favorite bread. I dare you to tell me you are doing a carb free diet after that. Just. Not. Possible. #totally addicted

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As a committed mushroom forager, I love looking at every nook and cranny of this shop.

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The boys enjoyed themselves here at Boccalone too.

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Cowgirl Creamery. Sigh.

I could have tasted every single cheese here. Pretty sure we ate nothing but bread and cheese for the next 2 days after spending too much time here.

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As for here at McEvoy Ranch, I could have designed a new collection or two if I had stayed here any longer. Heaven for the eyes. One day I will have a garden that yields this. One day pigs will fly too but you know.

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Unfortunately now all the goodies are gone and I am 5 lbs. heavier. I guess I should get off the computer and take a walk.  :-)


JOY: Fig Tree Style

We just did this post over on the MODA CUTTING TABLE blog but wanted to add it here too...

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When I heard about the JOY posts over there at the mothership [what we lovingly like to call MODA whenever we get the chance] I thought to myself... now why didn't I think of that. To take a break from all the crazy, stressful days, all the shopping, all the everything and write and read stories of JOY. It's perfect.

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For me joy is something that is most often found in the most unexpected places in the most unexpected times. Sometimes, though, I feel like joy is something that I have had to choose in order to find it.

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FABRIC JOY
I have to tell you that cutting fabric is one of those unexpected joys for me. What seems like in another lifetime, I used to work in a fabric store and that is where I learned to cut fabric and where I fell in love with it. To this day if I am overwhelmed or just feel like I have been working on the computer for too long, I go and cut bundles. It is almost therapeutic for me. Sewing of course does this too but cutting fabric is one of those tiny unexpected joys in my life.

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KID JOY
One of the things that has been bringing me a lot of joy lately is watching the friendship between my youngest who is 9 and my middle who is 13. They are both still so innocent and total goofballs and they play so well together that it makes me stop and watch. Especially in a time when most of their friends are "too cool" for stuff like this, the two of them are concocting silly games to entertain themselves. They clearly enjoy each other and watching them or their goofy expressions brings me a deep joy.

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HUBBY JOY
For those of you who know me personally, you will know that I literally could not do any of what I do without my husband Eric. You would also know that despite the fact that we work so closely together, we are quite different from one another and many think it is quite a wonder that we are such good partners. He makes me laugh every day. He makes me crazy too. He makes me breakfast :-). He is my best friend and although there are many days when the fact that we are so different makes us both crazy, he still brings me joy.

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CHRISTMAS JOY

Christmas time is one of my absolute favorite times of the year as I am sure it is for so many of you. There is something so wonderful about creating that Christmas feel in my home, it makes it all so much more than decorating. I think my favorite moments are when the kids open up a box of decorations [that they have first complained about having to take out] that they remember from years past and the "do you remember whens...." begin. That brings me joy.
Watching the house lights get turned on each evening and the smell of my favorite apple cider candle, that brings me joy.
Laying by the Christmas tree and reading Christmas stories... even to the teenagers... makes me happy. It brings me joy that they humor me!

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GIVING
 
As others have already said before me, there is unbelievable joy in the giving. We have had some hard family times around the Fig home in the last couple of years and sometimes the only joy that there was to have was the joy of watching others receive. Something that Fig Tree is sponsoring in the year to come, in February to be exact, is a RED & WHITE CHARITY QUILT SHOW for our local children's hospice home. More on that on my blog later, but i just wanted to throw it out there. MODA and several of the other designers have joined in and are donating goodies and quilts to the auction. Thank you! If you are reading this and have a red and white quilt or would be happy to make one by February, please email me at joanna@figtreequilts.com  We would be so happy to have you join us!
 
 
Whether it is this time of the year or any other, what is true for me is that joy happens in the little moments. Some of them are unmistakeable and some of them you have to choose to see.
 
I hope this season is filled with moments of joy for you. Any kind of joy!
 
Merry Christmas,  Joanna


Summer Memories

As I have a moment to breathe today [ inbetween 3 different deadlines and a couple of sick kids], I realized that I haven't had a chance to share with you much of our summer.

So before its totally too late [ I think the first official day of fall is right around the corner], I am going to bombard you with some of my favorites shots.

So going backwards from the most recent....

Our family vacation to Seattle, the San Juan Islands and Vancouver. Mostly through pictures because I am a bit too tired or maybe brain dead :-) for many words.

More likely, I would sit on this post for another 2 weeks waiting for the energy to add a lot of verbage and then it WOULD be too late to show you LOL!

 

LAVENDER FARMS ON THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS

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BEACH DAY AT THE SAN JUANS

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... if it's there we must climb it.

 

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... we must hit it.

 

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... we must build it.

 

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... some of us have never quite grown up.

 

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... therefore it must be smashed.

 

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... or demolished.

 

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.... while others of us tirelessly work to build it back up.

 

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EXPLORING THE SAN JUANS & VANCOUVER

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... bigger than my head!

 

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Garden

 

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Pier

... a perfect lunch with my oldest in a perfect spot while the rest of the fam went whale watching. 

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Steamclock  ... the famous steam clock in Vancouver.

 

AT THE FARM

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... family horseback riding. A first for us.

 

Hope you have a great evening!

 

 


A Girl, a Photo Shoot & a New Ad.

Photo shoots are a standard part of our business and we are usually prepared for how much time it will take to set up and style the products, get the right lighting, try different settings, shoot from as many different angles as possible, etc. Needless to say... it takes a lot of time and that's okay!

But as soon as you add a child into the mix... all bets are off LOL! My daughter has been a part of many of our shoots through the years- she started off being bribed by chocolate chips and being asked to count her toes to distract her to more recently [those are here cute little hands on the cover of our latest book] when she knows exactly what to do and has a lot more patience with the small changes we ask her to make.

A few weeks ago we had a fun opportunity to shoot a pic for an upcoming MODA AD so I thought I would share  a few of our "outtakes" from the shoot and the ad itself too...

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... we started off very focused on what fabric we had.


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... and exactly where it should go.


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... then we started having fun with it.

 

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... and worked on different angles and poses.


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... then I got this request...

Ella: mom, I want one of me with my hair in my face.

Me: Why?

Ella: Because that is what Taylor Swift looks like on the cover of her new CD. 

Well okay then!

After a few trys, we both agreed that the look didn't quite work for us.

Hexellapunchy

... then we just got punchy and everything made us laugh.

 

Hexadposing

... finally, we just started posing for the camera and forgot all about those lovely hexagons!

And then once the lovely folks over at MODA, got their creative little paws on the pictures, this is what they come up with. The ad itself is going in a couple mags in September and October. It showcases our HONEYSWEET collection [due out in stores in September] and the beautiful new hexagon precuts known as HONEYCOMBS.

Let's just say that Ella is a little bit excited. She has already planned a trip to the fabric store with her friends where she will "casually" pick up a magazine and flip through it until she gets to the page.

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Gotta love my little model.

Gotta love the new hexagon HONEYCOMBS.

Gotta love MODA. 



Lotsa bolts

Boltstack

This week has been kit cutting week around here. If you have been waiting patiently for your kit lovelies to come, they are on their way! Once we wrap our heads around what is left next week, we will let you know what we might have left.

As we were throwing out piles and piles and piles of cardboard bolts, we snapped a few shots to share.

Let's just say that we are ready for the weekend and hope you enjoy yours!

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BTW, for all of you who have commented and emailed about my dad's health.... I can't even tell you how much that means to me. Thank you so much for your thoughts, hopes and prayers for him and us. Will share more later but I just wanted all of you to know that your kindness does not go unnoticed. I appreciate each and every one of you.

 

Joanna


Magnolias

For those of you who have followed me for a while, you might remember these beauties that bloom outside my studio windows every late winter. The color and feel and shape of them is just unbelievable.

Usually I try to photo them alongside my daughter as a way of seeing her change and the blooms stay the same every year. I still hope to do that this year but so far life has gotten a bit in the way.

 

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Look at those petals?!

 

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I don't know if you remember but last week I promised everyone another great reveal. I still plan on getting that reveal to you soon! Unfortunately I had to go out of town quite suddenly due to some urgent family health issues. Wish it wasn't happening. Wish I could make it all go away. Wish that instead I was working on another great reveal. But it is not to be so today. Maybe tomorrow. One day at a time they say.

I might write more later. Once we all wrap our heads around what "it" is. 

  Mag

For today, however, I am hoping that Magnolias might make you happy. They are certainly bringing a ray of sunshine to our world. Even if I am not at home to see them right this very moment.